Many residents in Houston, Texas, and the surrounding areas, enjoy running for both the mental and physical benefits it provides. Not only does it release endorphins, but it can also help keep your heart healthy and avoid problems that are linked to being overweight. However, certain habits can hinder these benefits if not addressed. As a leading orthopedic specialist in Clear Lake, Texas, NASA Bone & Joint Specialists understand that runners want to get the most out of their favorite exercise, so we’ve listed 5 habits to kick to prevent injury and maximize the benefits:
1. Focusing Only on Running
It may seem counterproductive but focusing only on running every day can actually reduce your running performance and increase your risk of injury. Your muscles need breaks from constant, repetitive movements in order to perform at their best. Incorporate some cross-training activities into your exercise routine to strengthen your muscles and give your joints a break from jarring running movements. Swimming, biking, and even yoga are some great options to give your body a break form running a few times a week.
2. Not Hydrating
Some runners believe that simply drinking some water before they hit the pavement is enough to stay well-hydrated during their entire run. However, if you plan on running for more than 30 minutes, you should absolutely bring a bottle of water along with you. If you do not hydrate during your run, your body loses essential fluids and can easily become dehydrated. Currently, it is recommended that runners follow the “obey your thirst” rule, meaning that you should drink water whenever you begin to experience dry mouth and feel the need to hydrate.
3. Pushing Through the Pain
“Push through the pain” is a common term among those involved in athletics and those who enjoy following a challenging workout routine. However, following this phrase can be detrimental to your health and your workout routine. Pain is the body’s way of signaling that there is a problem. Ignoring this signal and continuing to workout can lead to injury or painful chronic conditions. If you begin to feel pain during your run, stop and stretch or walk to see if the pain subsides. If that does not work, hold off on exercising for a few days to give your body time to rest. If you still experience painful symptoms after a few days of rest, it may be time to give a Clear Lake sports medicine specialist a call.
4. Looking Down at Your Feet
Looking at your feet compresses the airways to your lungs and can make it difficult to breathe. When running, your body needs oxygen to keep your body performing correctly. Cutting off any amount of oxygen leads to a less effective run. Instead, focus on an object ahead of you to keep your head up and your airways unobstructed.
5. Swinging Your Arms Across Your Body
Even though running is a lower body exercise, the way you hold the upper portion of your body can significantly impact your performance. Swinging your arms across your body increases your energy output, and losing this excess energy means you won’t get as much out of your run. To kick this habit, relax your shoulders and keep your arms low and at a 90-degree angle. The low position of the arms makes it harder for them to cross your body.
Running is a great way to keep yourself healthy and in shape, but certain habits can reduce its effectiveness and even lead to injury. Kicking these habits can help ensure you will get the most out of your favorite activity. For those who need help getting back into their running routine due to pain or an injury, give NASA Bone & Joint Specialists a call at (281) 333-5114.